The 26 th annual Sparks Over the Park Independence Day Celebration at Lake Tobesofkee originally scheduled for Saturday, July 4, is postponed due to concerns with the rise in COVID-19 cases in Macon-Bibb County and Georgia. In the past, this event has attracted thousands of people to enjoy a day of beaches, playgrounds, cookouts, swimming, live music, and the fireworks show. A new date has not yet been scheduled.
“Even though Georgia has relaxed its restrictions, we know we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to this virus, and I’m asking people to join us in our efforts to protect each other by following all the guidelines from the CDC,” says Mayor Robert Reichert. “Wear a mask and keep your distance in public to help. Use soap, water, and sanitizer regularly to wash your hands. Use curbside pickup or delivery or restaurants and stores. Taken together, these measures will help our community.”
“We’d hoped our numbers locally and regionally would have been few enough and trending downward to offer a great Fourth of July weekend for people, but with the recent spike, we don’t want to be the cause of further spread by inviting people to a major event,” says Lake Tobesofkee Director Donald Bracewell.
“This is always an amazing weekend, but we need to keep people safe and healthy. That means not having a large gathering,” says District 6 Commissioner and Board of Health Member Joe Allen. “Please these next few weeks help us prevent the spread of COVID by taking care of each other.”
“These are not the numbers we were working toward in our community, and we need to work together to bring them back down,” adds Mayor Reichert. “That will only happen if every one of us recognizes the impact we have on other people’s health and takes the appropriate steps to protect each other.”
COVID-19 Preventative Measures
To help prevent the further spread of COVID-19, people are asked to take measures that will protect themselves and others. Click here to read the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines by clicking here. Measures include:
- Wearing a face covering (preferably cloth) in all places where they are near other people. Since the disease can be spread when a person is asymptomatic, this is done to help it from spreading unknowingly to other people.
- Stay at least six feet apart from other people, whether that’s in line at the store, in public facilities, or at the park.
- Using curbside pickup for restaurants, grocery stores, and other retailers to limit in-person contact.
- Wash hands thoroughly and vigorously with soap and water whenever possible.
- Use hand sanitizer frequently and when hand washing is not an option.
Personal Fireworks Rules & Safety Tips
- Fireworks can be used from 10:00 a.m. on July 4 through that night at 2:00 a.m.
- Wear a mask and remain socially distant while in the store buying fireworks and use hand sanitizer before entering and after leaving the store.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. (Legally, you must be at least 18 to use fireworks in Georgia.)
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a great danger.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, including sparklers which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees and can harm a child.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap.
- Discharge fireworks at a distance of 25 yards or greater from other properties.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass container.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Please refrain from using fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not use fireworks indoors.
Boating Rules & Safety Tips
Anyone interested in boating laws can pick up a boating safety handbook at the Lake Tobesofkee office or any DNR office. People can also go online to www.goboatgeorgia.com for more information.
- A new boating law went effect July 1, 2014, that requires anyone born on or after January 1, 1998 must take a boating safety class approved by DNR in order to operate a personal watercraft or boat, as well as other restrictions.
- All persons on a boat must have a PFD that is Coast Guard approved, in good condition, fits the person that intends to wear it, and is accessible at all time.
- Kid under 13 must wear PFD’s (personal flotation device) at all time on board a moving vessel.
- Any person 16 or over who operates a boat on Georgia waters must have a picture ID on board.
- All boats must be registered and have registration on board.
- Operators must obey the rules of the road and be familiar with all boating laws.